Gabreski's P-47D25RE Bubbletop Thunderbolt
by Mike Dobrzelecki

Here are some "in-progress" shots of my second Gabreski P-47D25RE Bubbletop Thunderbolt, using Rutman's resin parts (and alot of good old fashioned modeling skills). The model will be finished in Gabby's markings circa D-Day with 27 kills and the so-called "Black Tape-Only" Invasion Stripe scheme. This scheme has the full wrap-around invasion stripes on the fuselage and wings, however, only the white bands are fully painted, with the black portion left unpainted, but marked (or masked) with either black tape (my guess) or black painted stripes (not as likely).

Initial surgery done to remove poorly molded waste gate doors on forward fuselage. Area is backed up with plastic card and a short brass tube is inserted for the exhaust stack. Note heavy rivet detail on Revell kit.

Fuselage is assembled, Rutman's resin firewall is installed and faired-in. Rescribing is underway.

Interior view showing plastic card backing of waste gate area and brass tubing exhaust stack.

Rutman's resin interior and Fotocut instrument panel and interior parts assembled and painted with additional details added. A .005 clear sheet of plastic was sandwiched between the intrument panel parts, masking tape seat belts added and the double pane clear lense added to the reflecting gunsight.

Bottom of assembled rear fuselage rework in progress with ramp bleed door replaced with card. Note horrible seam in tail wheel well, which will later be mostly hidden with a canvas boot made from tissue.

Interior view of rear fusealge showing bleed ramps and various doors and blanking plates from card stock to add detail and depth to openings and eliminate the dreaded IPMS "see-through" look. Blanking plates are painted black.

Another approach to eliminate the "see-through" problem, this time dealing with the intake on the port wing root. Since there was ducting behind this intake, a half section of tubing was installed on the bottom half to simulate the ducting.

Compare the original Revell kit detail with the finished Rutamn's resin parts - a vast improvement.

Initial work to fix the kit's shell ejection chute openings, which are too wide. Plastic strip is used to provide sharp lines and fiared in with Zap-A-Gap CA glue with initial sanding pass underway. Interior of openings are again blanked off with one sheet of black-painted plastic card to avoid the "see-through" effect.

Fuselage assembled and partially sanded - initial rescribing underway.

In-progress shot of the correction needed to enlarge the Revell P-47's fin and rudder. Kit's trim tab outline has been filled and a new one scribed into the rudder. I did this work the old fashioned way - Rutman's new resin bubbletop fuselage that modelers can use to convert the more commonly available Revell Razorback kits already has a lot of these corrections incorporated.

© Mike Dobrzelecki

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